West Sussex Area Business Manager celebrates 30 years at ECL
Sue Cranford, West Sussex Area Business Manager recently celebrated her 30-year ECL work anniversary.
When she left school Sue had wanted to train as a nurse, but at the end of two years of college, she decided to take a year out before starting her nursing training. In this time, she worked as a nursing auxiliary within the NHS, but unfortunately some of the tasks she had to undertake put her off of nursing as a profession.
Sue said: “I was young, and I let some things put me off pursuing nursing as a career which, I do regret even though I love my job and love working in social care.”
Instead of nursing Sue went to work in a mushroom factory where she worked for ten years. It was while doing this role that that she took on a second job working as a night care assistant in a nursing home.
Sue joined the West Sussex home care team (run at the time by the local authority) as a home care assistant in 1993. She became a senior home care assistant in 1999 and began working with the hospital discharge team supporting customers that were coming out of hospital and assisting with their transition home.
She said: “It’s similar to what ECL do now with Ward-led Enablement. We would assess the customer before going home, see what support they needed and set up a care plan.”
Sue was in this role for 10 years and in 2009, the West Sussex home care offering transitioned to reablement care and she became a manager and registered manager. Then in October 2012 the West Sussex Local Authority team transferred via TUPE over to ECL.
Sue said: “The changeover was really quick, and the difference between ECL and the local authority were unbelievable. We had to learn new processes and procedures almost overnight, it was a big change. I have learnt so much since being with ECL.”
Reflecting on how the social care sector has changed in 39 years Sue points out that that trends in social care are cyclical saying: “Every so often it goes full circle. Ways of doing things change and then further down the line they revert to how they were done in the first place.
“Being a carer now is much more person-centred than it was before. You have more time with the customer. Back when I was going out on visits there was no allowance for travel time, so you were more pressured.”
In her career Sue has also had first-hand experience of how developments in technology and communications have changed things for the better. With technology like email, mobile phones and hand-held devices making it so much easier for frontline staff to communicate while out on visits.
She said: “I don’t know what we did before we had mobile phones to be honest! Well, I do actually, you had to find a phone box with a phone that still worked to call the office. I remember when we first got pagers, the office would page you and you’d have to get to a phone and call in to see what they needed. When I think back, it was worlds apart from how it is now.”
Another development Sue has experienced in her time in social care is how training has improved. She said: “It’s changed so much for the better, there’s so much more on offer. When I first started in social care there was very little training available, and the training you did have wasn’t hands on - it was more of a classroom set up rather than being interactive. Thinking back to the West Sussex days, we had one trainer that would cover all aspects of the training whereas now there is an entire training team! Plus, we use external trainers such as trained pharmacists to teach us how to administer medication. The training with ECL is so good, it sets you up to do the best job you can do for the customer.”
Like all of us, the coronavirus pandemic was like nothing else Sue had experienced before, and she identifies it as a particularly challenging time for the sector. But also acknowledges that it was a time of recognition as people became more aware of how important care workers are and the great work that they do.
Sue said: “It really did shine a light in what carers do. All our teams were even more amazing during COVID-19, they just got on with the job and took everything in their stride - they were brilliant.
Talking to Sue about her extensive career in social care, the overwhelming sentiment you get is that she loves what she does.
It’s why her customers loved her when she was a care assistant (one customer even went to the church to see her on her wedding day assisted by her colleagues), and it’s what makes her a great manager today.
When asked what she loves most about working in reablement she said: “Getting people back to independence without a doubt. It’s lovely to see the customers reach their goals. The feedback we get from customers is great to hear. I think that’s the best part of working in social care for me; seeing how we help people.”
Sue’s advice to those thinking of pursuing a career in social care is to go for it. Stating: “the job satisfaction you get in this sector is second to none.
She goes on to say: “Looking back, I’ve loved working in social care. I’ve loved every minute of it, even the difficult times. I’ve been really lucky I’ve worked with some amazing people over the years.”
Sue Cranford, West Sussex Area Business Manager, ECL
Looking back, I’ve loved working in social care. I’ve loved every minute of it, even the difficult times. I’ve been really lucky I’ve worked with some amazing people over the years.
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